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Hired Slaves

Buck, a hired enslaved shoemaker, worked at Monticello in 1810.  Buck was owned by John Peyton, the brother of Craven Peyton, who leased Jefferson’s Shadwell farm from 1799 to 1801 and owned extensive acreage along the Rivanna River.  In January 1810, Jefferson wrote to Peyton, “You proposed to me at court the hiring one of the shoemakers of your late brother, which at that time I declined.  I will now however be willing to take him and should prefer having the one which can sew the neatest.”1  Five days later, Buck had begun to work; the fee for his hire was $10 per month.  Presumably, Buck made shoes for the enslaved people of Monticello; shoes were sometimes part of slaves’ clothing allotments.  Buck was one of two hired shoemakers working at Monticello in 1810; together they received two rations of bread per week.2  Buck quit work on March 10, after having earned $17.76 for Peyton.  Before Buck departed, Jefferson gave him a $1.25 “gratuity,” or tip.3


  1. Thomas Jefferson to Craven Peyton, Jan. 10, 1810.
  2. “Bread List, Feb. 1810,” Jefferson's Farm Book, 134.
  3. Jefferson's Memorandum Books, Mar. 10, 1810, vol. II: 1253.
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Learn about the enslaved people who lived and worked on Mulberry Row, the dynamic industrial hub of the Monticello plantation.


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